China demands investigation after Argentina sinks fishing boat

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  March 16, 2016 at 11:20 AM
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BUENOS AIRES, March 16 (UPI) -- Argentina's coast guard on Monday sank a Chinese fishing boat that it says was fishing illegally in its exclusive economic zone off the Atlantic coast.

In a statement, the Argentine Naval Prefecture said it tried communicating with the boat, the Lu Yan Yuan Yu 010, via radio in Spanish and English and with both visual and audio signals, and that the Chinese vessel failed to respond.

The Argentine coast guard then said one of its ships fired a warning shot as the Lu Yan Yuan Yu headed for international waters. The Chinese ship was later sunk and all 32 crew members were rescued.

"The vessel was hailed over radio and both visual and audio signals were sent to make contact. However, the vessel turned off its fishing lights and proceeded to flee towards international waters without responding to repeated calls over various frequencies," the Argentine Naval Prefecture statement says. "On several occasions, the offending ship performed maneuvers designed to force a collision with the coastguard, putting at risk not only its own crew but coastguard personnel, who were then ordered to shoot parts of the vessel."

In response to the incident, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing expressed "serious concern" and has "made urgent representations" to Argentina, also demanding a thorough investigation.

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